American bishops have issued a call for the US Congress to find “concrete proposals” in response to the “crisis” of gun violence across the country. Source: Crux.
The plea follows last month’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead and more than a dozen others injured.
In a joint statement released by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) on Monday, Bishop Frank Dewane and Bishop George Murry called for “honest and practical dialogue around a series of concrete proposals – not partisanship and overheated rhetoric.”
The bishops also said that President Donald Trump’s proposal to arm teachers in the classroom “seems to raise more concerns than it addresses” and instead advocated for raising the age of gun ownership, banning bump stocks, and requiring universal background checks as solutions that offer “more promise”.
“We must explore ways to curb violent images and experiences with which we inundate our youth, and ensure that law enforcement have the necessary tools and incentives to identify troubled individuals and get them help,” they wrote.
The US bishops have long advocated for a comprehensive approach to reducing gun violence that addresses mental illness without stigmatisation.
They repeated that plea in the statement, noting that “Most people with mental illness will never commit a violent act, but mental illness has been a significant factor in some of these horrific attacks. We must look to increase resources and seek earlier interventions.”
The bishops also lauded the heightened political advocacy in recent weeks of many of the young victims of the Parkland massacre.
“The advocacy by survivors of the Parkland shooting – and young people throughout our nation – is a stark reminder that guns pose an enormous danger to the innocent when they fall into the wrong hands. The voices of these advocates should ring in our ears as they describe the peaceful future to which they aspire,” they wrote.
“We must always remember what is at stake as we take actions to safeguard our communities and honour human life.”